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My SCJA Fun: Advice for Passing the Oracle Associate Exam

 
Gary Marshall
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All:

I finally took the SCJA this past weekend and passed at 80%. Not a spectacular grade, however my objective was to pass the exam. A second objective was that, since I was getting mock exam grades in the 70's and 80's, that I would get a SCJA grade in the 80's. So, from my personal perspective, I met my expectations.

Like others who have done so I would like to provide the tools that I used to prepare for this exam. My list of tools will include "pros" and "cons" of using them.



  • 1. Head First Java By Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates:

    PROS: As I have stated in other postings in this forum and will state again here: this is THE primer you need. Whether you are just starting out as a OO newbie, or you allready know OO and are just learning java, this is an excellent starter book. Read it, do the exercises as well as the "sharpen your pencil" exercises (I would leave the crossword puzzles as an option). Then, after you have finished reading the book..... read it again.

    CONS: I have found several typographical / spelling errors in this book. I also found a few graphical errors. One graphic in particular contained lines that are to point from one image to another are off such that you can be confused as to actually what images the lines are pointing to. I also found text in the book that referred the reader back to previous pages using page numbers that were incorrect. (K&B: send me a pm if you want specifics)

    2. SCJA Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide for Test CX-310-019, 2nd Edition by Cameron McKenzie

    PROS: This is a great followup book to the HFJ I mentioned in item 1 in getting yourself geared up for the SCJA exam. It does a good job, no it does a great job, of covering the topics you will be questioned on. I very strongly recommend you read this book.

    CONS: Mr. Mckenzie, can you please, please get a third edition of this book printed that fixes all of the typos and grammatical errors that are strewn all over the second edition? The copy that I purchased not only has these nasty problems, but the index at the back of the book is almost entirely useless. I found many, many instances where the index points to incorrect pages or it points to a page that is blank!!! Also note I have indentified several incorrect answers to questions.

    3.Cameron McKenzie's SCJA Certification Exam Questions Guide First Edition by Cameron McKenzie

    PROS: The partner book to item 2 in this list. After you read Mr. Mckenzie's study guide mentioned in item 2, get this book and go through all of the exams. Its a great followup to his study guide. It will definitely help you in determining the subjects that you need to improve on before taking the real SCJA exam.

    CONS: I found one or two answers were wrong. Also, there exists several questions that I consider to be outside the scope of the SCJA exam. But don't let this deter you from using this book.

    4.EnthuWare JAssPlus V1 For SCJA 1.0 (SCJA mock exams). Find it here JAssPlus V1 For SCJA 1.0

    PROS: You can't go wrong taking as many mock exams as you can before taking the real thing. This bank of four exams gives you another perspective of the questions you will be asked, vs those given by Mr. McKenzie.

    CONS: There are questions that are definitely outside the scope of the SCJA. Also, you will have to overlook spelling and grammatical errors that exist in both the questions and the explanations.

    5. Use Ranch Hand member Rob Poulos's posting, found here: Passed SCJA with 94% Mr. Poulos provides a good listing of web sites to go to for SCJA knowledge and offers his suggestions on how to take the exam.

    PROS: Great posting. Thank you, sir

    CONS: none


  • I would like to add to Mr Poulos's suggestions on taking the exam: Go through the exam one time, marking each question that you know right off the bat will require some time to complete - for me these were the questions that contained code to analyze - and answer those questions that you clearly know the answer to right away - for me these were mostly the mutlple choice questions. Then, go back and tackle the questions that you marked. After you complete this, go through each exam question again. Keep doing this until you run out of time. I found that in my third iteration of going through the exam I was still changing answers to questions.

    About the exam... I found a question that had two identical answers within the listing of multiple choice answers! Huh? Whats that about? It was a question that had to do with the correct javac syntax when compiling classes that have package statements. SCJA authors, take note!

    Also.... I question whether or not a particular question on the exam having to do with "....the advantage of RMI over Sockets..." is in fact out of the SCJA scope. In all of the material I presented here I do not recall having ready anything about this. If I am wrong, then perhaps someone can enter a reply to this post and let others know where they can find information pertaining to the advantage of RMI technology of Socket technology.

    I hope this helps all of those getting ready to take the SCJA.

    Now.. I'll try SCJP (again... )
    Gary


     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Hi Gary,

    Congratulations with passing the SCJA with a nice score!

    And I also like your descriptions of the tools you used with the "pros" and "cons". I only used the book by Cameron McKenzie and I have to agree with you: the book contains some really major errors. I don't talka about typos, because I don't consider them as major (and not being a native English speaker I might miss a lot of them), but about code snippets and wrong answers to the questions which are both a really important part of the book, so you won't expect such mistakes in these sections. And I searched the internet for a list of errata, but unfortunately couldn't find that either. So i created a short list with some of the major issues I ran across (which could be found in my SCJA story). If you have additions, feel free to add them in a reply.

    Good luck with SCJP!
    Kind regards,
    Roel
     
    Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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    Congratulations! I'm so glad I could play a small part in your success!

    -Cameron McKenzie
     
    William Peck
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    Gary, how long would you say it too you to prepare for this exam ? That's a lot of materials you listed.
     
    William Peck
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    How many questions are there on the exam ?
     
    ash saini
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    hey...what is the procedure to apply for SCJA exam?
     
    Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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    Hey Ash. Welcome to the JavaRanch!

    We're super-happy to see you anxious to sit the exam, but there are two things you need to do to get the best answers. First, don't cross post, because that just confuses everyone, and nobody knows where to answer your questions. Secondly, don't 'hijack' threads that don't deal with your particular question.

    http://www.coderanch.com/t/509227/java-SCJA/certification/SCJA-open-doors-entry-level#2377546

    So, try posting it as a new questions and see what happens. And better yet, use the search feature on the site, as I'm pretty sure that question has been answered before.

    Good luck!
     
    jamie bell
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    Hi Gary,

    First of all I would like to congratulate you for your achievement.I have the following doubts,please help me clarify it...

    1)I am referring Robert Liguori scja guide cx-310-019. Is it sufficient to clear the exam?
    2)Did you get any UML related questions on the exam because now the oracle site says UML has been omitted.
    3)The new exam is Oracle certified java associate 1z0-085 which people say is similar to cx-310-019.Is the syllabus for both the same?
    4)Which are the questions that were difficult to solve on exam and which chapter consists of highest appearing questions on exam?
    5)Some tips and tricks for clearing this exam in one go and how much time a newbie needs to prepare for it?
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Do you want to pass OCAJ 5/6 or OCAJ 7?

    Because there is a huge difference between these 2 certifications (although both OCAJ) in study material (and required java knowledge).
     
    jamie bell
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    Roel De Nijs wrote:Do you want to pass OCAJ 5/6 or OCAJ 7?

    Because there is a huge difference between these 2 certifications (although both OCAJ) in study material (and required java knowledge).




    I want to appear for OCAJ 5/6.I am planning it to attend on aug 10 2012.Please help me to clear it soon.
    Thank you.
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    jamie bell wrote:I want to appear for OCAJ 5/6.I am planning it to attend on aug 10 2012.Please help me to clear it soon.

    I used this book to prepare myself for this certification.

    My review of the book:
    Roel De Nijs wrote:This book is good to prepare for the exam, but that's really it. So from that point of view I would recommend it.
    But this book contains too much errors and mistakes to make it a good book (even in the mock questions). The book is also not really up-to-date anymore: many examples use StringBuffers, Vectors,... where nowadays StringBuilders and ArrayLists should be used.
     
    jamie bell
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    Thanks a lot Roel for replying. I think i have internet access 24/7 so i dont need that book and also i dont have money to purchase that book within this short period of time. I am working as an intern with a very less salary so i cant afford it right now.I completely agree with you there are a lot of errors in this book and also it contains the UML chapter whereas for the new exam 1z0-850 does not include it for the exam as seen on oracle website.
    I think taking a lot of mock exams will prepare me for the exam instead of keep reading and revising the guide.
    I would like to hear some very useful tips from you to help clear my exam.I appreciate your reply.

    Thank you.

     
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